Imagine you had a blank sheet of paper and someone said you could write down all the features you would want from a new canoe design. In the three years I spent paddling the various prototypes it gave me a chance to think of ways to improve all the annoying little things that we tend to adapt to as paddlers rather than fixing the causes.
When I designed “The Darkness” I had compiled a list of ideals and aspirations based on three years of testing concepts and now have a boat which in my opinion, is the best compromise between the possible, the practical and the constraints imposed by ICF regulations.
My “shopping list” included:
• lightweight (less than 10 kgs)
• maintains a straight line
• low profile to avoid catching the wind (weather cocking)
• conform to International Canoe Federation (ICF) regulations for competition
• be stable enough for a developing paddler (say wobble factor of 5) and far more stable than a high kneeler
• be faster than a touring C1
• be lighter than a touring C1
• be paddled sit&switch
• be affordable
• fast and easy to get in and out
• able to fit a spray deck
• a front deck which didn’t inhibit switching the paddle
• adjustable seat position
• adjustable footrest position
• height adjustable seat
• a seat solution to cope with different shape and size bums!
• a hybrid which would work equally well with kayak paddles
• it had to look cool
Of course there’s always room for more improvement and what it lacks is objective input from different paddlers but I’m satisfied with the result as I know “what bad feels like” and it is a sheer joy to paddle.